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Interview: Sennen

PUBLISHED: 17:13 17 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:40 29 October 2010

Rob Garratt

Sennen are one of the biggest bands to come out of Norwich in years, their wide-open soundscapes and epic instrumentation reminding people of the Norfolk landscape. ROB GARRATT spoke to vocalist Richard Kelleway.

Further listening: Sennen

Local shoegazers Sennen are one of the biggest bands to come out of Norwich for years, their wide-open soundscapes and epic instrumentation reminding people of the Norfolk Broads and picking up rave reviews. ROB GARRATT spoke to guitarist and vocalist Richard Kelleway.

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t You're all Norwich lads aren't you?

Originally we came from all over but we all studied and met in Norwich and I'm still living there and so is one of the others, we're absolutely a Norwich band.

t What did you study at UEA?

I did a philosophy and politics degree, but that must have been five years ago. I stuck around because I like it here. I come from the Isle of Wight and I though this was the biggest city in the world. We were all doing the music so we wanted to stick around.

t Do you still have a day job?

I work at the football club in IT. I will definitely back your Get Behind the Canaries campaign to keep us up because it might keep me in a job! It's a bit of a difficult time but there's still a few games to play. It keeps going one way then the other. The other one who lives in Norwich is Andy the bass player, the other two live and work in London now.

t You're signed to a Norwich label too?

Yeah we signed to Hungry Audio in 2005, they were pretty much starting out and they asked us to do a record and we were like 'yeah'. Last year we did our second one. They've been really good with us and they gave us a chance to have our records in the shops and in the press.

t What do you think of the local music scene here?

Norwich is pretty good, it has a pretty decent scene. Other cities of a similar size don't have as much, there's a lot going on and you've got places like the Queen Charlotte and the Marquee. For the size of city it doesn't do bad. If you want to get spotted by the industry you've got to go to London - but that's the same as any city. Norwich is the focal point for everything in Norfolk and beyond. I get down to the Arts Centre quite a bit. I think it's quite a healthy thing. Bands like Bearsuit do really well, there's a lot of little bands doing really well. I listen to BBC Introducing Norfolk and there's lots of good bands round here.

t Any other places you remember playing?

The Café D, on Bedford Street, we used to play up their and at student nights at the UEA, then we started getting support slots at the Arts Centre and since then we've played there lots and have a real relationship with the crowd there.

t How did you guys get noticed?

It just takes time and you slowly build it up. When we did the first album it helped because it did quite well. It was quite a gradual thing, there's no one day when it suddenly happened. We built up support slots around the time of our album and then it suddenly started to get out. For the album last year we got very good press - the 8/10 NME review must have helped sell a few, although it didn't help as much we hoped! You do have to put a bit of time and effort - it can be hard to get time off work to go on tour.

t One review compared your music to the “widescreen sweep of big, bleak Norfolk skies.” Are you influenced by the area?

If that's what people hear. There's no effort to sound like we're anything, it could be one of those things come through that you don't really notice. There's never been any kind of master plan - it's just what we sound like playing together. We're not ever particularly great musicians, we came up with a sound that just suited us. I don't think we could play any other way.

t Who influences that sounds?

A lot of bands we liked then and still like, like Spiritualised, Mogwai - when we started out we wrote much longer stuff, we' more focused now. My Bloody Valentine - I don't think we're that similar accept we like to play loud.

t Do you have any advice for bands trying to make it in the city?

If I was to give advice it would be like we'd made it - it's not like we're making any money or anything. It takes a lot of effort and time. Its rewarding - there's wonderful times I would change for anything but it's not all fun - getting gear out of the van in the middle of the night and going to work the next morning.

t Sennen play the Norwich Arts Centre on April 25.

Further listening: Sennen

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